So I read a recent article on Hop Harvesting and Storage Tricks by Scott over at Bertus Brewery and it really got me thinking about planning. I rarely have a day where I wake up and say "I'm gonna brew!" I am just to thorough and passionate (some may say nerdy) about this hobby to have not researched and formulated a recipe I think will be great, but I also rarely plan out more than 2 brews in advance.
The last time I tried to plan back-to-back brews, I failed miserably. I was going to make a Helles and then use that yeast cake to make a Maibock. Due to a series of problems (ingredients shipping delay, then shipped to my old house, then not being able to brew due to work) I just didnt get around to making that Helles until the end of February. We had a real mild winter here in D.C. and I didn't think my ferm chamber had enough stamina to ferment at that 48-50 degree range in March, so the maibock didn't happen. But I digress...
So I have decided I want to try and formulate a rough brew calendar for the next year. This will hopefully give me the following benefits:
- Bulk Ingredients - I know what I will be making so I know how much and what kind of grain, hops and yeast I will need to buy.
- No Keg Left Behind - sometimes my friends get thirsty, but hopefully I will be able to keep the pipeline full
- Seasonals - Thinking far in advance I can have seasonal beers ready when I want to consume them, rather than speed brewing to make them in time - like every march when I realize "Shoot! I need a stout in 2 weeks"
- Productivity - If I don't have deadlines or a schedule, I tend to put things off (I still haven't bottled the small beer from the second runnings of RIS from mid july yet). If I have a schedule I will be more likely to stick to it and be productive
So there you have it. In the next few weeks I will be crafting a master list of beers I want to brew. I will then narrow it down using a number of criteria and come up with a calendar for the next year. I have found some links that will be helpful in this quest: